Film review: ‘Epic’ is as generic as its title

Aziz Ansari and Amanda Seyfried were actually turned into a cartoon slug and teen for "Epic." Credit: Blue Sky Studios/Fox
Aziz Ansari, as the slug, and Amanda Seyfried star in “Epic.”
Credit: Blue Sky Studios/Fox

‘Epic’
Director: Chris Wedge
Voices: Amanda Seyfried, Colin Farrell
Rating: PG
2 (out of 5) Globes

Perpetual also-rans behind Pixar and DreamWorks Animation, Fox’s Blue Sky Studios previously brought us “Rio” and the absurdly profitable “Ice Age” series. Blue Sky movies have a strictly good-enough-for-government-work feel. Popular without penetrating the zeitgeist, these are marginally adequate entertainments destined to be forgotten on the drive home from the movie theater.

Blue Sky’s latest, the blandly titled “Epic,” is more of the same. Inspired by “The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs,” a 32-page children’s book from “Rise of the Guardians” author William Joyce, director Chris Wedge and a small platoon of screenwriters (including Joyce himself) have fashioned an overcrowded hodgepodge of familiar tropes and Xeroxed bits from other, better movies. It’s the kind of movie that even while watching for the first time you could swear you’ve seen before.

Amanda Seyfried voices Mary Katherine, a tweener who recently lost her mom and is sent to live with her estranged scientist Dad (Jason Sudeikis) in a dilapidated country estate. She wants to be called MK now, and has no patience for her bumbling father’s crackpot theory that there’s an army of insect-sized men flying around the forest shooting bows and arrows on birds affixed with saddles.

But of course he’s absolutely correct. There’s a war going on in the woods, where the brave and noble Leaf Men (led by an uptight Colin Farrell) do daily battle with the sinister Boggans, gargoyle-like creatures who soar around on bats spreading rot and decay.

After much convoluted business involving the queen of the forest (yes, that’s really Beyonce) MK finds herself shrunk down and placed in charge of protecting a pod that’s the mystical key to the survival of the woodlands, or something like that.

The universe of “Epic” is so needlessly overcomplicated that the majority of the movie is just characters standing around explaining the story to one another. But if you’ve seen “Lord of the Rings,” “Avatar” or even “Ferngully: The Last Rainforest,” you’ll already be way ahead of them. Wedge tries to distract from the deja vu with oddball celebrity cameos, including Steve Tyler as a singing caterpillar and Pitbull as a jive-talking frog. But the nicest thing you can say is that at least the movie practices the green environmental message that it preaches: The entire screenplay is recycled.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Local

New York-based Century 21 store coming to The…

The former Strawbridge & Clothier building will once again host a department store. City officials on Thursday announced New York-based Century 21 Department Stores will…

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

Music

Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.

Music

M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

MLB

The return of Cole Hamels brings optimism

Cole Hamels’ quality start Wednesday was a nice change of pace from his recent season debuts.

MLB

Tony Gwynn Jr. a nice surprise for Phillies

Tony Gwynn Jr. has been a plus in every way for the Phillies.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

Food

Hai Street Kitchen opening in Rittenhouse May 22

Japanese cuisine will get a Chipotle-style twist at Hai Street Kitchen & Co., a new casual, quick-food restaurant opening near Rittenhouse Square on May 22.…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.